My mother recently passed away. All of her family and her live(d) in Texas. She left no will. Can I file in Probate court without a lawyer?


Also, how can I become the executor. She doesnt have many assets.

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You need to do an application to enter probate - even if they died intestacy as your mom did.

If there is a will, and the estate is straightforward and family is all kum-ba-ya and you are super organized and have time, in some counties in TX you can do probate on your own as Texas is a fairly easy probate state IN THEORY. I've been executrix twice and imho you really need to get a good estate or probate attorney even under the best of circumstances. Again, some counties require an attorney for probate.

But your mom died intestate - there is a whole sticky aspect to that as the heirs have to be determined and you will need to do legal to establish that. That is what N1K is referring to. If your parents had more than their single marriage you will need to research on the prior marriages and any issue (heirs) possible. Plus the sheer fun of having to figure out separate V community property and commingling of assets. If this wasn't properly done when your dad died it could be another sticky problem. You'd be surprised who comes out of the woodwork at probate hearings.

The court will name an executor or administrator as there is no will. Now if you are not a resident of the state or deemed unqualified, then the court can name an outside administrator. They have a list of attorneys at the ready to do this and their paralegals are usually about the courthouse and available. About the "unqualified", if the judge senses there is any family friction, then they will name an outside administrator; or if you have any prior significant legal issues - like bankruptcy or old felony, then you can be unsuitable even if you are a heir.

One thing you can do to increase your suitability is to do the inventory of the assets of the estate and some idea of the estate's debt (the Notice to Creditors will bring those out but it is good to show you understand the process). The family really, really needs to look all kum-ba-ya in agreement on your being the administrator.

Could there possibly be a will - even an old will - out there?
I'd check with whomever did probate on your dad's estate to see if they have a will in their files. All this info is in the courthouse, (you might be able to go online to get it if it's in the last decade). You have lots of time in TX to open probate, so no need to rush. Good luck and keep a sense of humor.
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Diana: Even if your mother died intestate, you still need a lawyer, who will send out notices to all family members requiring their signatures. Your lawyer will also petition the court in order for your to become the executor or personal representative (as in Florida).
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